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How to Follow a Raw Food Diet?

Published on Jun 13, 2022 and last reviewed on Jul 04, 2022   -  7 min read

Abstract

Raw foodism or rawism or raw food diet is the habit of eating raw food or food that is uncooked and unprocessed (underprocessed) for health benefits.

Contents

What Is a Raw Food Diet?

The ideology behind the raw food diet first came in the 1800s. The idea behind following a raw food diet is that cooking food decreases and destroys the nutrients and the natural enzymes present in the food (raw food, to be precise). This theory prevails because the enzymes present in the food ease up and boost the digestive and immune systems, which also helps to fight chronic diseases. Food is considered raw when the food has not been heated over 104 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 to 48 degrees Celsius. When the food is not refined, pasteurized, or processed in another way, it is then considered a raw food.

Even with people substituting cooked food with raw food, there are two categories. One who eats an animal-based raw food diet and the others who eat a plant-based raw food diet, also called raw veganism. People implementing a plant-based raw food diet often suffer from vitamin deficiencies, including vitamin B12, calcium, and iron. They have to take vitamin supplements to cover up the deficiencies.

What Is the Theory Behind Raw Food Diet?

There have been theories suggesting that cooking makes the food toxic, rendering it unhealthy to eat. The theory also claims that raw food eases up headaches, allergies, arthritis, and diabetes. There have been theories and experiments to prove that eating raw vegetables and fruits controls hypertension (high blood pressure) as raw food is low in sodium which decreases the chances of stroke, heart failure, nephrosis (kidney diseases), osteoporosis (a condition where bones are weak and brittle), and stomach ulcers. Due to the low calories and high fibers present in the raw food, a raw food diet helps in losing weight and keeping the weight which is a key factor in preventing type II diabetes.

With all kinds of theories in place about food becoming toxic after being cooked, there are counter theories suggestive of the fact that cooking, in fact, does not make the food toxic but makes it more digestible. Cooking also boosts nutrients like beta-carotene (carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes) and lycopene (grapefruit, watermelon, and papaya), and also kills bacteria which avoids the chances of food poisoning. There is no proven theory that raw food prevents an illness from occurring. It also has been proven that eating raw food leads to health hazards and has negative consequences on both physical and mental health.

What Are the Types of Raw Food?

The raw food diet has been divided into three main categories based on the type of raw food involved:

1. Raw Vegan Diet: The most common type of raw diet is the vegan raw diet. It constricts the options of raw food as it only involves raw and vegan food. Vegan food is plant-based food and excludes all animal-based food particles, including dairy products.

2. Raw Vegetarian Diet:Vegetarian diet includes the exclusion of animal-based food products such as meat, fish, and poultry but includes dairy products such as milk and cheese, yogurt, and cream.

3. Raw Omnivorous Diet: This type of raw food diet includes all types of food articles, plant-based (raw fruits and vegetables), animal-based (meat, fish, and chicken), and dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt).

What Are the Foods One Can Eat in a Raw Food Diet?

Raw food diet is prepared by unique methods such as sprouting and dehydrating. These processes are easily applied to all the raw food articles. Raw food diet consists of vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian diets. Food articles falling under these categories are broadly divided into the following types:

1. Grains: Grains are high fiber and low-calorie food particles. Some of the grains included in the raw food diet are:

2. Beans:Beans are comfortably eaten raw or by sprouting them as they provide sufficient nutrients and are easily digested raw. Some of the common beans included in the raw food diet are:

3. Fats and Oils: Since this diet does not include cooking, the raw food diet is low on fats and oils. Fats and oils are essential ingredients of the diet and hence should be added. Some of the fats added to the raw food diet are:

4. Beverages: Often raw food diet includes solid food; however, adding beverages to the diet is crucial to balance the diet. Some of the beverages included in the raw food diet, except for water, are:

5. Fermented Foods: Often, eating raw food is not tasteful and delicious, and hence fermenting food is another way of preparing a raw food diet. Some of the fermented foods included in the diet are:

6. Herbs:Eating raw food individually is hard as it tastes bland and often contains added flavors; hence adding herbs, spices, and condiments flavors up the raw food diet. Some of the essential raw herbs added to the diet are:

7. Sweeteners:Often, with raw food, the taste is either salty or sour, and even with added herbs, the taste enriches to salty or spicy to create a balanced diet. Therefore, sweeteners are a must. The sweeteners that can be added to the raw food diet are:

What Foods Should Be Avoided in a Raw Food Diet?

Eating raw food is beneficial and healthy, but there are some food particles that are advised not to be eaten in their raw forms. Categories of food to avoid in a raw food diet are:

1. Beans: Eating sprouted or dehydrated beans are a good way to absorb the nutrients in their raw forms; however, some of the beans might do more damage than good. Beans to avoid are:

2. Caffeine:Caffeine is processed from raw seeds that are bitter in taste and should be avoided in their original raw forms. Some of the caffeinated food particles to avoid are:

3. Sweeteners (Processed):Raw sweeteners are good for health as they are low in calories and original in taste; however, processed sweeteners should be avoided when following a raw food diet. Some of the processed sweeteners to avoid are:

4. Refined Food: Food items that are refined should be completely avoided when following a raw food diet. Examples of refined food items are:

What Is the Difference Between Raw Food and Cooked Food?

Forming and complying with a raw food diet means an individual agrees to eat only raw food items for their health and diet. Even with research and experiments, it is yet to be proven that raw food is more beneficial than cooked food. Research has proven that both cooked and raw food have health benefits, and have positive consequences on one’s health. The difference between raw food and cooked food are:

Raw Foods:

Cooked Foods:

What Are the Benefits of a Raw Food Diet?

Raw food diet is advised because of the following reasons:

1. Raw food diet provides a flush amount of vitamins and minerals.

2. It contains phytochemicals (present in plant-based raw food diets), which help in fighting cancer and other chronic diseases.

3. Fiber-rich diet.

4. Advocates and helps with weight loss.

5. Low in calories.

6. Presents with a false sense of full stomach.

7. Raw food diet helps in avoiding processed food.

8. Decreased the amount of processed sugar and salt.

9. Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.

10. Increased ability to recover from diabetes type II.

11. Low chances of getting myocardial infarction.

What Are the Drawbacks of a Raw Food Diet?

Raw food diet is advised against because of the following reasons:

1. Nutrient deficient diet.

2. Vitamin B12, D and C vacant diet.

3. Decreased amount of calcium, zinc, iron, protein, and iodine.

4. Chances of contracting Escherichia coli, salmonella, and listeria infections through raw milk.

5. Calorie deficit diet.

6. Decreased or no amount of sodium which is an essential component of the diet.

7. Often not a balanced diet.

8. Increased chances of food-borne illnesses.

Conclusion:

The ideal food habit includes taking a diet rich in nutrients and vitamins, which are abundantly found in raw fruits and vegetables, irrespective of their state, either raw or ripe. Cutting out one specific genre has proven to be harmful. Going to extreme lengths such as cutting out cooked food and completely committing to a raw food diet have proven to be a health hazard. Removing processed food from the diet is good, but eliminating an entire category of food is not required. For example, omitting dairy products when consuming a vegan raw food diet or boycotting meat and fish products when following a vegetarian raw food diet can have negative effects on an individual’s diet and health. Raw food diet is essential and beneficial, but to a certain extent only.

Following a raw food diet often aids in losing weight, but it can also lead to certain protein and nutrient deficiencies.

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Last reviewed at:
04 Jul 2022  -  7 min read

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